So I’ve compiled a handy list of some of my perennial favourite utility gadgets along with some more recent arrivals. I also had an eye towards longevity and minimal environmental impact here to a degree - so there are some eco-gadgets mixed in. I have about half of these all told and all have really been exemplary since I first acquired them and are still in tip-top condition.
There should hopefully be something here for everyone - these are all useful tools to have around the house, but make sure that some of these sharper ones stay out of the hands of kids. I am generally a huge fan of the pocket multi-tool and I have a variety of all manner of tools, Fiskars, Gerber, Leatherman, Victorinox and others. Most of those though are significantly above £100 - so I thought I would keep this guide more accessible.
I will likely do another guide with the more expensive electronic gadgets - but limited to 16 or so.
Items are listed alphabetically by brand and range from £8 to £80 - note that prices can fluctuate significantly and you may find some of these cheaper as well as more expensive ... so shop around!
How about these for the ultimate rechargeable batteries - you don't need one of those special rechargeable battery units - the top of each of these pops off to reveal a USB jack for plugging in directly to USB socket! Each AA battery is @ 1.2V and carries 1450mAh of charge.
This cool black-screen version is the slickest of the point-and-click DIY digital measuring devices - no more faffing around with flappy/floppy tape - super quick and efficient and accurate to +/- 3mm with a range of 20 metres. You can of course get more expensive and far-reaching, pin-point-accuracy pro Bosch versions of this - but they have a lot more buttons and are quite a bit more expensive!
For some reason the grey version looks the slickest of the different colourways - this is my favourite of the various travel clocks / alarms available and come with snap lid, and super-intuitive controls - also it has that essential second hand that I so like - super clear and totally ergonomic. Of course if you have £155 spare you can get one of those very cool Mondaine Steel Travel Alarm Clocks - which looks amazing, but the Braun still has it beat on control ergonomics overall!
One way for all you coffee drinkers to make up for all those left-over by-product aluminium capsules. I don't drink coffee, but I'm totally onboard with this pen which is made from those used coffee capsule, and which is my daily weapon of choice nowadays.
This is my pocket-vault of choice nowadays, and the whole family pretty much is onboard with these. The earlier versions of these wallets weren't RFID proof like this one is - and this Black 3D Embossed Cube Patterned version is the coolest variation yet as far as I'm concerned.
This is a touch the odd one out here - but something about this nose hair trimmer in the shape of a ray gun tickled my fancy as such. Sure it's a novelty, but concept-wise it's pretty much spot-on - and it works tolerably well to boot too!
I have a few pairs of these around the house now - these are just superb - the very best domestic / kitchen scissors available as far as I'm concerned - each comes with own sharpener and various functions - including tape slicer, wire cutter and bottle opener.
A cool multi-utensil made of durable Titanium, and which includes - Spork / Serrated Knife / Fire Starter / Peeler / Can Opener / Bottle Opener / Pry Bar / Box Cutter / Cord Cutter / Flat Head Screwdriver.
I already have the almost equally pricey Klhip Nail Clippers - and this is sort of the equivalent for feet! Not quite as neat and tiny! - but a solid piece of engineering at a rather admittedly steep price.
I've had these for a quite few years now as I recall - really clever design, and still super-sharp. These are still the best designed / made hand nail clippers as far as I'm concerned.
This seems to be only available in admittedly a rather nice looking blue currently, although my 4 or 5 year old one is in black. This is the neatest tiny tool - with pliers and scissors at this diminutive size - amongst several other functions. Note that there is also an electrician's version of this - the ES4 with more wire-cutting and electrical maintenance functions.
Your very own personal pocket water purifier - you've probably seen a few demos of this. Handy to have with you when travelling outside of Europe.
Fellow Icelander and uber artist Olafur Eliasson's eco-light project should be well-known to most - this is the latest and best generation of the Little Sun with extended 'battery' life now. 5 hours of sunlight charge / gives you circa 5 hours of light output.
I have the regular size original version of this - but this updated version is neater and tinier still and properly of regular pen dimensions - so it will sit easy in your shirt pocket if that is your thing! Really want this version too! (not for shirt-pocket!)!
Minich have knocked it out of the park again with this 10-wrench, 15-function modular ruler-style spanner set. Really neat one-way push-click function, and super slim form factor which is slick and effective.
Probably the neatest take-anywhere iPhone charger lead - slots nicely onto any old keyring.
My regular torch of choice with serrated lens end-cap for protective counter-measures. Has 3 modes - regular, half-power and flashing. Really rugged, reliable and bright - although batteries can run out rather quickly too. I also still really like my Maglite Mag XL200 which is a little less costly at £34 but also has a fairly fast-draining battery.
Probably the go-to survivalist rugged water-proof self-powering torch with 3 fairly bright LEDs albeit just 8 lumens max output. One side has solar panel, the other has a hand-crank. A day's worth or so of solar charging yields 90 minutes of light, while 1 minute's worth of hand-cranking gives you circa 60 minutes worth.
My favourite mini un-corker has a really neat mechanical ratchet function which makes it super easy to open a bottle of wine. This is the best waiter's pocket friend as far as I'm concerned, I've had mine for twenty years or more now.
I've had this one for nigh on twenty years too - a really cool pocket knife which splits in two for a proper knife and two-prong fork set. Also includes bottle opener, cork screw and screw-driver / can-opener. Really handy to have when you're on the move - and still a classic design.
Super-sharp and perfect for any bearded type as well as general hair-cutting despite its diminutive size. Beware that you need to care for these properly in order to maintain that razor-sharp edge - so only use on hair.
As a non-smoker this is strictly for lighting candles around the house and in case the gas cooker doesn't spark. This newer design is more dangerous as it exposes the spark - but it's also the only version that works to light those semi-burned-out glass-encased scented candles I so like! Note that this is a great eco product versus the more disposable lighter kind, and the double-arc version in particular is sufficiently wind-proof.
Even though I mostly use this as a box cutter - great shape of blade for that, this is my pocket / penknife of choice - with built-in emergency whistle, torch and fire-starter spark-rod.
This is the torch that I use the most these days - it's about as tiny as you would want it or circa 90mm long and is effortlessly easy to carry around - super bright too and with decent life-span on its single AAA battery!